Mars Wrigley Elevates Product Offerings, Introduces ‘Transaction Zone’ Team

Jacqueline Barba
Digital Editor
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Mars Wrigley introduced its latest initiative to keep a pulse on consumer trends and ensure its business and retail partners identify and adopt innovations to exceed shoppers' expectations.

At the Sweets & Snacks Expo in Chicago on May 23, the multinational manufacturer unveiled its “transaction zone” team: an internal consultancy of front-end experts dedicated to identifying and implementing market solutions that help category managers, store operations and shoppers grow the transaction zone, according to a news release.

Self-checkout has been around for more than two decades, but only about half of transactions go through it, according to an October 2020 Videomining grocery checkout study. Less than a year after Mars Wrigley revealed its Accelerating Impulse Moments (AIM) program a four-pillar platform focused on developing conversion strategies to reimagine impulse shopping through transaction zone reinvention, snack aisle optimization, secondary display growth and digital solutions execution — the company has invested heavily in strategically growing the transaction zone team around shopper insights that it deems critical to evolving check out.

"At Mars Wrigley, we're always listening to our consumers and working with our retail partners to re-shape the future of the industry by creating better moments in-store and on-shelf," said Tim LeBel, president of sales at Mars Wrigley, in the release. "Beyond being at the forefront of the snacks and treats category, we are thought leaders in understanding retail challenges and identifying pivotal solutions to make the shopping experience more efficient and engaging, maximizing shopper loyalty and retailer profits."

Since the consultancy was initially formed in September 2021, it has built proprietary tools to unlock insights around transaction zone performance at retail, developed a new conversion model that identifies solutions for key transaction zone audiences and extended the company's reach by engaging with all retail formats, according to the release. The goal for Mars Wrigley has been to inform the company and its retail partners about the most impactful ways to optimize checkouts now, reimagine the self-checkout terminal and queue area next, and grow frictionless checkout in the future.

In addition, this past year Mars Wrigley has also helped retail partners reach shoppers through voice artificial intelligence (AI) advancement studies and introduced on-trend product offerings to motivate consumer purchases.

Mars Wrigley says voice AI, an omnichannel tool, is shifting consumer behavior, evolving how brands show up and making shopping easier than ever. Informed by its research, Mars Wrigley piloted a series of voice-driven programs around Halloween that increased brand engagement via a spooky voice alarm and social media support, facilitated hands-free shopping with a voice-activated shopping list and targeted new-to-brand buyers via voice-activated ads.

Mars Wrigley is also making efforts to align with shoppers’ societal and environmental values. A global commitment made by the manufacturer’s M&M's brand attempts to “leverage the power of fun to increase the sense of belonging for 10 million people by 2025” and help foster a more inclusive society, per the release. Similarly, Mars is also rethinking its approach to packaging. M&M's recently eliminated the traditional plastic overwrap from its theater boxes, making the packaging fully recyclable. Mars also revealed that all Mars bars sold in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada will be certified as carbon neutral by 2023.

In addition, Mars Wrigley is focused on keeping a close pulse on what motivates consumers. Like last year, the manufacturer is positioning seasonal products as year-round opportunities. This summer, M&M's will roll out new music-centric programming to attract and engage shoppers and drive conversion by tapping into nostalgia to spark fun and connection. The manufacturer is also releasing several new offerings across its portfolio offer shoppers a wider variety of offerings that “balance satisfaction, taste and preference.”

To name a few, the new offerings include: M&M's crunchy cookie (a hybrid of the iconic M&M's candy and nostalgic chocolate chip cookie), M&M's Munchums (available at select retailers for a limited time with a gluten-free option) and a new variation of its annual Skittles Pride packs, which historically comprises all-gray skittles during June’s Pride Month and supports the LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, however, the candy received a splash of color from six LGBTQ+ artists who crafted original designs that represent how they "see the rainbow" every day. From May 9 through July 15, for every Skittles Pride pack purchased, $1 will be donated (up to $100,000) to GLAAD.